5th Sunday of Easter Year B - 2/5/2021 - Gospel: Jn 15:1-8
Abiding in Christ
A grapevine is a plant that is easy to grow, and once it is established, it lasts for years to come. A single grapevine has many branches. The vine treats all branches equally, and yet each branch has its own character. Some have plenty of fruit; others are not so healthy, and others again have bitter fruit. All branches need to be pruned. Good branches are pruned to bear more fruit, and the not so good ones are pruned to improve the quality, and quantity of fruit. Pruning means cutting off rotten wood or removing any kind of parasites, and insects on the branches. Pruning hurts, but it is a necessity. Letting branches grow wild, life is fruitless, and diseases eventually will kill the vine.

Jesus used the image of vine and branches to talk about the relationships He has with His disciples, and the relationships His disciples must have to remain in Him to produce proper fruit.  Jesus is the true vine, and His disciples are the branches. When Jesus' disciples abide in Christ, they bear good fruit and in plenty. The quality of fruit changes when a disciple chooses to have the main source of life not from Christ, but from something else. Branches depend on the vine. This is not a choice, but a must.

Depending on something else means a desire to follow a different path. The different path often means following the way of the world. It also means, that a disciple chooses to follow his/her own course of action. Branches produce good fruit because they abide in the vine. A Christian can't produce good fruit unless s/he abides in Christ. In other words, Christ helps Christians bear good fruit, and through Him we can bring others to Christ. Not abiding in Christ, we are seeking glory for ourselves, and heading for ruin.

Fruits have seeds in them, and the seeds are meant to reproduce more vines for generations to come. Good faithful disciples bear good fruit by making Christ's glory shine, and that brings others to Jesus, and that enriches the number of Christ's Church on earth.

The word of God serves as a double edged sword. It does both the pruning, and  abiding. It prunes our lives by means of removing, and cleansing any deadly vices, and dead cultures in us. At the same time, the word of God helps us to abide us in the love of Christ, which encourages to endure pain, and welcomes the power of healing Jesus offers. Regular pruning takes less time, and less cutting is required. Infrequent pruning requires lots of time with more cutting, and more pain involved. Pain and hurt are unavoidable, but the peacefulness, and life enrichment to come outweighs any hurt, and pain the pruning caused. The word of God enlightens our mind; it enlivens our heart, or it strengthens our faith in Christ. Life is secured not by our own power, but by the love of God, which is instilled into the lives of those who abide in Christ.

When Jesus says He is the true vine, and God the Father is the vinedresser, Jesus contrasts Himself from other kinds of vine promoted by the world. They are not the kinds of vines God wants. The Father is the vinedresser. The Father prunes branches out of love, and with tender care for the branches; the world prunes branches by means of humiliation.
Let us remind one another that whoever prunes you, that person is your master.